Russian internet major Mail.ru launched its own voice assistant called Marusya in test mode, Vedomosti daily reported citing unnamed sources.
Reportedly, Marusya's functionality is currently limited to information queries and launching music from Mail.ru's social network VKontakte, which could later be expanded to food delivery, e-commerce, ordering taxi, etc.
Vedomosti claims that the development of the assistant cost $2mn. In May 2018 Mail.ru's main rival Yandex unveiled an AI-driven voice assistant Alisa, analogous to Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, and Google Home assistants, which was integrated in Yandex's smart speaker and voice assistant device Yandex.Station (Yandex.Stanciya).
Alisa is also integrated into Yandex.Avto system that will be installed on the dashboards of over 2mn vehicles produced by Avtovaz, a major recent win for Yandex.
The launch of Mail.ru's Marusya "is expected and a natural move for one of the largest internet companies in Russia," BCS Global Markets commented on June 17.
"It has a wide set of services to integrate into the assistant, which could offset it having less expertise in search and speech recognition (basis for voice aid), for instance, Yandex," BCS GM analysts note.